Open Martins Beach
How we got involved?
My first surf at Martins Beach in 2012 was one I won't forget. It was a beautiful Fall day, a Monday, and one of those September days in the Bay Area when it's hard to stay focused on work.
A few days before I had paddled to Martins Beach from Tunitas Creek, the beach just to the south. It was a long paddle, over a mile, along sheer cliffs, and probably a few Great Whites below. Not a recommended way to get there!
I loaded up the car and drove down to Martins Beach after lunch. I parked on a side street a little north of the locked gate, suited up and jogged along PCH. I went around the gate and headed down the road to the beach.
I was taking a few photos on the beach and getting ready to paddle out when an SUV came speeding down the road. A woman jumped out and started yelling at me that I had to leave the beach and she was going to call the Sheriff. I told her go ahead "Call the Sheriff".
I threw my backpack on top of a large rock surrounded by water — my car keys and iPhone were in there — and paddled out into the empty lineup. The woman stood next to her SUV watching me catch wave after wave.
After about 20 minutes she left. I thought she had finally given up... After catching another wave I was paddling back out and that's when I saw them — two Sheriff's vehicles rolling down the hill.
What is the problem?
Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA has been closed to the public since 2008 in direct violation of the CA Coastal Act. The new owner, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, has ignored repeated requests by environmental organizations, the Coastal Commission and legislators to reopen the beach that families and surfers have been enjoying for almost 100 years.
How you can help?
Continue to visit the beach!
Where should I park?
Parking along highway 1 is okay or directly in the dirt area to the right side of the gate.
Gate closed, can i walk to beach?
Yes, just walk around the gate and follow the access road down to the beach. it takes approx 7 min to walk from the gate to the sand.
Beach Etiquette & Tips
While some of the tips below are obvious, please read through & follow.
Do not drive down access road unless you are visiting a resident at Martins Beach.
Stay only on the main access road or sand (this is the public area).
There are no restrooms, so go ahead of time.
Many animals live at martins beach, please help keep it beautiful and pickup your trash.
No dogs are allowed.
From spring through fall you may find a baby seal stranded on the sand. Do not touch & remain at least 100 yards away to not stress the baby. Note: mother seals leave their pups on the sand while they look for food. The mother will eventually come back for her baby. If you encounter a distressed or injured animal, call 415-289-SEAL.
For almost 100 years, Martins Beach has been a popular recreational spot that the public has enjoyed and developed fond memories at. Our goal is to help continue to preserve public access.
1840 - Property known as Martins Beach is owned by the Alviso Family.
1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brings end to Mexican-American War.
1850 - Mexico cedes territory to the US including what is known today as CA.
1851 - Congress passes the California Land Act of 1851. Establishes the Board of California Land Commissioners to settle Mexican land claims.
1852 - Alviso Family files claim for their land (including Martins Beach). Confirmed by Board of Land Commission & District Court of California. The United States challenges the decision.
1859 - The US Supreme Court upholds the claim. No mention of public easement on the property.
Early 1900s - The Deeney family purchases large amount of coastal property including Martins Beach.
Early 1930s - The Deeneys lease Martins Beach to the Watts family, who allows visitors to drive down the beach and park for a fee.
2008 - Martins Beach is purchased by two shell companies later connected to Vinod Khosla.
2010 - Gate is closed to the public.